Troops assault civilians after complaints

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 August 1999, 22:22 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops Monday assaulted civilians who had recorded statements with the Chairman of the government-funded Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna Mr. Shanmuganathan Sreetharan, about their harassment by the SLA in Varani in the Thenmaradchi Division of the Jaffna Peninsula.

Mr. Sreetharan visited the Varani area on Saturday following increasing reports of harassment by the SLA.

The villagers explained to the HRC chairman in detail how they were being harassed by the SLA at its sentry points.

The villagers asked the Chairman why, if there is a civil administration in the peninsula, are there large number of harassment and abuses on civilians, said HRC sources.

On Monday the SLA soldiers went to the village and assaulted those who had made statements.

The villagers say that they are afraid to inform the authorities of further harassment by the SLA.

Meanwhile Mrs. Vijeyakumar Sharmila,22, mother of one, has complained to the Human Rights Commission in Jaffna that she had been abducted by the unidentified men while she was on her way to the hospital on August 16. She was released in the evening on the same day.

Following is the translation of her statement:

"I was cycling to the hospital to go to a clinic on that day. As I approached Kannathiddy junction, unidentified men in civilian clothing who arrived in a green van stopped me. They blindfolded me and took me into the van along with my bicycle.

Later they interrogated me at an unknown place. They asked me several questions. I did not know where they took me as I was blindfolded.

In the evening around 7.30 they drove me to the 'Pannaankulam Naachchimar Kovil' (temple) and allowed me to go"

Meanwhile two other women, Thadchanamoorthy Surenthini,34, and Kumaralingam Mathana,21, have been reported missing since August 12.

Meanwhile, four women and a man were arrested by Sri Lanka Army troops from the Cey-Nor transit refugee camp in Gurunakar in Jaffna this morning said Mr. Sreetharan.

They are: Thurupapathan Sukanthalathevi, 26, of Sandilippay, Athiparasekaram Sasikalathevi,19, Sivanantharasa Sarvakalathevi, 20, Sutharalingam Naguleswaray, 47, and Logitharasa Sivanantharasa,30, from Chenkalady; Batticaloa.

They are being held at the Kankesanthurai detention centre, he said.

Cey-Nor refugee camp is being used as a transit camp for those who are entering the peninsula from areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers.

Meanwhile the Eelam People's Democratic Party, a paramilitary group operating with the SLA in Jaffna said three school students who had been detained at the EPDP office in Jaffna were handed over to their parents in the presence of police officials yesterday. All three are from the Manipay area in Jaffna.

They were loitering in suspicious manner and therefore they were detained at the office, the EPDP said.


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